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In some of the email that my recent blog posts have stimulated, one reader bewailed his lack of job opportunities. Then, he informed me he was (a) ex-millitary, (b) moving to the DC area, and (c) interested in computer security. He already works in IT, as you might exepect from somebody who would tune in on my blog in the first place. Given his combination of background and experience, I raised the question: “Did you ever get a security clearance?” to which his response can be fairly represented as “Yes, I had a Secret clearance but that was years ago.”
Guess what? Given the increasing role of security in government contracts and consulting, and the wide availability of related jobs that require or benefit from security clearance, any military issue security clearance is pretty valuable nowadays. Assuming your track record hasn’t picked up anything that might disqualify you from re-upping said clearance (criminal conviction, bad credit, bankruptcy, or other blots on your escutcheon) in the meantime, obtaining clearance once already usually means it’s much faster, cheaper, and easier for you to get another clearance or to renew your previous clearance with the Feds.
Companies, especially those like the so-called Beltway Bandits (companies based in Virginia and Maryland along or near 495 aka “The Beltway”) really like to hire ex-military personnel who have already qualified for security clearances for security related IT positions. This can be a great ticket to career advancement, and offers a great way for ex-military folks with IT backgrounds or interest to find interesting, good-paying jobs, and for service personnel currently involved in IT related positions to make a smooth and successful transition back to civilian life.
Here’s what else I told that reader, specifically regarding finding work in the DC Metro area: “Be sure to get the Washington Post and scour the classified in the Engineering/Technical section. Join the ISSA (http://www.issa.org/) and get active in the DC area local chapters (they probably have separate ones for DC, Maryland, and VA): they offer great networking and job posting leads.” The only downside is that the DC Metro area has experienced major growth since Bush came into office, with traffic congestion, long commutes, and skyrocketing real estate prices and rental rates to match that growth. But if you’re willing to stomach these not inconsiderable issues, those with security clearances interested in information security jobs could do a lot worse than to follow this advice.
I sincerely hope that somebody, somewhere finds this information interesting, if not actually worthwhile. Drop me an e-mail at email@example.com and let me know either way.